Hospitality earns HHS duo state title

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Sean Gagliardo (left) and David Meck

Sean Gagliardo (left) and David Meck

SUNRISE SUMMIT — Ten students from Hampshire High school have qualified for the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta May 6-7 based on their results at the state DECA contest earlier this month.
Heading the list are Sean Gagliardo and David Meck, who placed 1st in their hospitality services contest.
Of the 13 HHS students that went to the conference, 12 placed in the top 3 in their category. Hampshire High’s DECA club competed against 400 other students from around the state at the West Virginia State Career Development Conference in Charleston March 9-10.
DECA, which stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America, is an association of marketing students that focuses on marketing management entrepreneurism in high schools and colleges around the globe according to Sabrina Hirst, the state vice president of West Virginia’s DECA organization 2 years running.
A week before state, Gagliardo and Meck had to take a 100-question test about the different aspects of hospitality and services. In order to qualify for the ICDC, they had to get at least 60 questions correct. Meck and Gagliardo scored 60.5, just making the cut.
“Our test was lower than we would’ve liked, so we are definitely going to spend a lot of time studying for that (for the ICDC),” said Meck.
Meck and Gagliardo also had to role play different scenarios based on their category at the state conference.
“They give you about a page and a half of a situation based on the category you were in. For example if the paper was saying you’re on a management team helping a hotel introduce a resort fee, then you act like you are the leader of that management team and you explain what you’re going to do about it,” said Gagliardo.
Although the boys scored low on the test, their role-playing abilities definitely wowed the judges.
“The 2nd role play, the one that we killed on, was about an old historic hotel that was undergoing a $49 million renovation to bring life back to the ‘old dinosaur,’” Meck said. “As we were making our pitch on how we would re-attract customers, the judge asked us what methods we would use. We began listing off ways such as billboards, commercials, radio, and Sean threw in telemarketing and phone calls.
“As soon as he said this, the judge’s phone went off. Sean looked at the judge and without missing a beat said, ‘Such as the one that just tried to call you.’ The judges began laughing hysterically and that’s how we knew that we had killed our role play,” Meck said.
When Meck and Gagliardo realized they had placed 1st in their category, they were thrilled
“At states the way they called the ranking was from 3rd to 1st,” Gagliardo recalled. “We knew that 3rd place did not go to states, so we both prayed not to be called 1st. We weren’t called 1st and we had a bit of ease, but were still very nervous. Then they called 2nd; we both looked at each other and knew that either we were 1st or last. I thought we were last but as soon as I thought that, they called our team as 1st. Before they even call David’s name he jumps up in joy and starts to yell, ‘We did it!’”
Meck added, “Sean and I were expecting 2nd place, so hearing our name called for 1st was overwhelming.”
For Hampshire’s DECA to be able to move on to the ICDC, they will need to raise $9,500 by April 11, 2014. All sponsorship would be greatly appreciated, and should be mailed to Hampshire High School to the attention of DECA advisor Melissa Detrick.
Hampshire place winners:
1st: Sean Gagliardo and David Meck, Hospitality Services Team
2nd: Ellie Attaway and Emilynn Corbin, Travel and Tourism Marketing Team
2nd: Roger Foster and Isaak Lambert, Business Law and Ethics Team
2nd: Bethany Gano, Quick Serve Restaurant Management
2nd: Kaitlyn Kesner, Restaurant and Food Service Management
2nd: Julie Michael, Learn and Earn
3rd: Toby Crawford, Professional Selling
3rd: Terra Ritter, Hotel and Lodging Management
3rd: Sarah Vickery, Marketing Management

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